Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post 9-11 World
David Barsamian interviews Noam Chomsky.
Metropolitan/Holt, 2005; 228 pages.
(More than 60,000 copies in print.)
Timely, illuminating, and urgently needed, this volume of interviews conducted by award-winning radio journalist David Barsamian features Noam Chomsky discussing U.S. policies in the increasingly unstable post-9/11 world. In these exchanges, appearing for the first time in print, Chomsky offers his frank, provocative, and informed views on the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the doctrine of preemptive strikes against so-called rogue states, and the growing threat to international peace posed by the U.S. drive for domination. In his inimitable style, Chomsky also dissects the propaganda system that fabricates a mythic past and airbrushes inconvenient facts out of history.
Barsamian, recipient of the ACLU’s Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, has conducted more interviews and radio broadcasts with Chomsky than any other journalist. Enriched by their unique rapport, Imperial Ambitions explores new ground, including the 2004 presidential campaign and election, the future of Social Security, and the increasing threat of global warming. The result is an enlightening dialogue with one of the leading thinkers of our time, a startling picture of the turbulent world in which we live, and an affirmation of the many possibilities for a more hopeful and humane future.
“Reading Chomsky today is sobering and instructive… He is a global phenomenon … perhaps the most widely read voice on foreign policy on the planet.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Reviews of Imperial Ambitions
Review in South China Morning Post, October 30, 2005:
A reviewer for London’s The Daily Telegraph wrote in 2001 that if Noam Chomsky didn’t exist “it would be necessary to invent him – the one thing that his polemics are guaranteed to do is make you think”. Imperial Ambitions is a collection of interviews by David Barsamian, whose dialogues with liberal intellectuals are syndicated on US radio. He first worked with Chomsky in 1986 and, in this collection, he leads the MIT professor of linguistics and left-wing polemicist through a series of discussions, spanning March 2003 to February this year, about the US and the potential global ramifications of its policies. Barsamian says the essence of Chomsky is that understanding the truth or knowing how to act is “not so complicated”. Those who have tackled Chomsky’s latest book, Hegemony or Survival, may be excused for thinking otherwise, but Barsamian’s skillful editing makes accessible Chomsky on such topics as the distortion of history and memory, and, in “Another World is Possible”, a discussion of fundamentalism and the American right.
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One of America’s most tireless and wide-ranging investigative journalists, David Barsamian has altered the independent media landscape, both with his weekly radio program, Alternative Radio—37 years and running— and his books with Noam Chomsky, Eqbal Ahmad, Howard Zinn, Tariq Ali, Richard Wolff, Arundhati Roy and Edward Said. His latest books are Edward Said: Culture and Resistance, Retargeting Iran, Noam Chomsky, Chronicles of Dissent Interviews with David Barsamian 1984-1996. And the latest book with Chomsky is Notes on Resistance: Interviews by David Barsamian 2019-2021. David lectures on world affairs, imperialism, capitalism, propaganda, the media and global rebellions.
In 2017 Radical Desi in Vancouver presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. He has collaborated with the world-renowned Kronos Quartet in events in New York, London, Vienna, Boulder and San Francisco. David Barsamian is the winner of the Media Education Award, the ACLU’s Upton Sinclair Award for independent journalism, and the Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. The Institute for Alternative Journalism named him one of its Top Ten Media Heroes.
Noam Chomsky, by any measure, has led a most extraordinary life. In one index he is ranked as the eighth most cited person in history, right up there with Aristotle, Shakespeare, Marx, Plato and Freud. His contributions to modern linguistics are legendary. In addition to his pioneering work in that field, he has been a leading voice for peace and social justice for many decades. Chris Hedges says he is “America’s greatest intellectual” who “makes the powerful, as well as their liberal apologists, deeply uncomfortable.” The New Statesman calls him “the conscience of the American people.” He is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics and Haury Chair in the Program in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. At 94, he is still active, writing and giving interviews to the media all over the world. He is the author of scores of books, his latest are Consequences of Capitalism, Chronicles of Dissent and Notes on Resistance.
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